Saturday, 17 March 2018

All Greek for St Patrick

Today, I went to a St Patrick's Day bake sale to buy some yummy goodies, but there wasn't any Irish stew or Colcannon anywhere in sight..... the bake sale was held by the nuns of the Holy Theotokos Convent.
The Holy Theotokos Convent is a small community of Orthodox nuns located in tiny Cedar Valley in the heart of Ontario countryside. The nuns produce 100% pure beeswax candles for both church use and for general sale. They also produce natural products such as soap, moisturizers and lip balms. You can find out more about the convent here.

The shop was bustling with people who had all driven out into the country to the Convent to buy the pastries and the candles. It was a strange mixture of aromas of both beeswax and baking, beautiful candles for sale, colourful secular Easter egg and Easter bunny decorations, shamrocks and leprechauns and Orthodox religious icons, all presided over by the friendly nuns dressed from head to toe in black robes.

But they bake the most wonderful Greek pastries.
I came home with a custard tart, a pecan butter tart, a Greek cookie covered in icing sugar but I can't remember the Greek name, and two spanakopita pastries. Happy (Greek) St Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Happy Pi Day!

Happy Pi Day! 

I'm admitting that this is a blatant repeat of my post published more than ten years ago, but maybe this will be the first time you see it! Anyway, Pi doesn't change, it's constant, and Pi Day happens every year on this date, so just read on and then go and have some pie.
Today is March 14 .... 3.14 ..... in other words, Pi Day!
(It's also Albert Einstein's birthday!) (And also the day that theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking passed away today 14 March 2018. An appropriate date.)

The Greek letter Pi is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is approximately 22/7 and is usually calculated to 3 digits, 3.14, and is the most revered mathematical constant in the known universe.
Remember your Grade 9 math class?

With the use of computers, Pi has been calculated to over 1 trillion digits past the decimal. That's a whole lot of numbers!

So celebrate Pi Day with nerds worldwide by singing this little song, to the tune of "O Christmas Tree", all together now:

Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi 
Your digits are unending,
Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
No pattern are you sending.
You're three point one four one five nine,
And even more if we had time,
Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
For circle lengths unbending.

Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
You are a number very sweet,
Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
Your uses are so very neat.
There's 2 Pi r and Pi r squared,
A half a circle and you're there,
Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
We know that Pi's a tasty treat.

(Lyrics by LaVern Christianson, math teacher Windom, MN, USA)

Friday, 2 March 2018

Back to Normal?

Oh-oh, I looked at the date and I haven't posted for almost a month! Probably because I haven't really been very far from home or done anything very exciting. Even though I was given permission to drive only 2 weeks after the hip surgery, YoungerSon had commandeered my car while his was getting some TLC, so I was without wheels. And then of course, there was the Olympics, and it was so easy to make myself comfortable on the couch and watch all those crazy athletes vying for medals. I loved it! Canada surpassed expectations in the medal count, Go CANADA Go, but we fell down badly in both the men's and women's curling, which Canada was expected to win. However we won gold in the mixed doubles curling, a new Olympic sport this year. Hooray!
So what else have I been doing? I went to see the movie "Peter Rabbit", yep those cute little bunnies wearing jackets are REAL I tell you! And I donated this small framed lino print for the silent auction at our Art Gallery Auction, I wonder if anyone will bid on it.
And the new hip update: all doing well, only 2 more physiotherapy visits left. The site of the incision is still a bit sore, but I'm walking upright and straight, and both legs are the same length, phew!
And just because it's still cold and a bit snowy outside, and winter isn't over yet, here are the lovely primroses (or are they primula?) a gift from my thoughtful daughter-in-law.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

HIPster Update

I know everyone out there in the blog world is anxiously waiting for an update of how my shiny new right hip is doing.... and the news is good.

A visit to the hospital this morning for a couple of x-rays and a follow-up visit with the surgeon.
I've had a giant waterproof bandaid on my leg since the surgery, with "Remove on Feb 6" written in big black letters, my own "Best Before Date". So it was carefully removed revealing a perfectly neat 4.5 inch incision held together with about 25 staples. Definitely a thing of beauty!
I was so impressed.

The staples were popped out (you can see them in the x-rays), some steristrips installed over the scar, and I was given some spare steristrips in case they fall off during the next few days, which no doubt they will. One was off by the time I got home from the hospital.

And that's it for today..... more x-rays and an appointment in 6 weeks.  Still a bit sore, and I'm still using the walking stick for balance rather than support, but I'll soon be able to get around without it.

And the best part..... I'm OK to drive my car again!
All this in 15 days since total hip replacement surgery..... amazing.
Thank you to my surgeon, he did a great job.

Friday, 2 February 2018


Today is February 2nd..... 40 days after Christmas. The ancient celebration of Candlemas.

Candlemas is a Christian holy day commemorating the Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. Some Christian communities bring candles to church, where the candles are blessed and then used for the rest of the year.

In France and Belgium, crepes or thin pancakes are a traditional Candlemas treat. Each family member cooks a pancake while holding a coin in the other hand, thus ensuring wealth and happiness for the next year. The pancakes are round and golden in colour, and are a symbol of the return of spring sunshine after a cold winter.

In Mexico, the presentation of Jesus in the Temple is celebrated with family meals of tamales. Whoever finds the bean in the king-cake at Christmastime is responsible for cooking the Candlemas tamales for the whole family.

There's a theory that Candlemas derives from pagan celebrations as it occurs halfway between the December solstice and the March equinox, winter's halfway point while waiting for spring.

Many people believed that Candlemas Day predicted the weather for the rest of the winter. A bright sunny Candlemas meant more winter to come, and a cloudy wet stormy Candlemas meant that the worst of the winter was over. This is the basis for the February 2nd tradition of North America.... Groundhog Day. Will the groundhog see his shadow? I wonder.......

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won't come again.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

I'm so HIP!

Many thanks to the kind bloggers who wished me a happy time away from home during the past week..... yes, I did have a good time, but not quite what you might expect!

OlderSon delivered me to the local hospital at 6:30am last Monday morning. At 8:00am I walked into the operating room, met my surgeon and his team, hopped up onto the operating table and was given a shiny new right hip joint using a new procedure for this surgeon, Direct Anterior Approach Hip Replacement, or DAA. By 12 noon I had recovered and was moved to the 3rd floor to join OlderSon.

The surgeon came to see me a couple of hours later, and encouraged me out of bed, and I walked a few steps up and down the room, the surgeon on one arm and a nurse on the other.

The next day, Tuesday, was busy with visits from the hospital physiotherapist, the pain doctor, the cardiac doctor, the pharmacist, numerous blood pressure checks, the surgeon wanting to check on his work, as well as lessons how to walk up and down stairs safely. YoungerSon came to get me in the afternoon, and I went to a local Senior Retirement Residence for 7 days respite and recovery.

Direct Anterior Approach Hip Replacement, or DAA, has only been performed at this hospital since November. Instead of a 10 inch incision at the side or back of the leg, DAA has a small 4 inch incision at the front of the leg. Recovery is much faster and there are no restrictions on movement of the new joint. I was able to walk with a walker immediately, and although the incision area is still a little tender, I'm starting to walk with a cane.

Staples come out next week, and then I'll start physiotherapy. And I'll soon be as good as new! I'm thinking positive thoughts. And it gives me the perfect excuse to stay in the warm during this cold snowy weather.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Blue Jeans and Buttons

Torn and faded blue jeans have been given a new lease on life by Judith Tinkl. To me these are no longer just slices of ripped denim, destined for the used clothing recycling bin, but have been turned in to lovely landscapes and architectural drawings, even maps.

Judith Tinkl's quilts and textile creations are not meant to keep you warm at night, although they could. They are meant to be displayed on the wall, and I think they are beautiful.

This one is called Oma, Opa, Obi and was stitched in 2011.

Post scheduled while I'm away this week.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Peculiar? Possibly

Not only is the outside of Viktor Tinkl's property fascinating... inside his "showroom" is just as quirky and different and rather morbid too. Lots of words can be used to describe his art.... peculiar, eccentric, unconventional, strange, bizarre.... they all fit.

Turn the wheel on the left on this device and the playing card skeletons come to life. Wish I had made a video of this.

Judith Tinkl is an accomplished quilt maker and textile artist and many of her works are on display along with her husband's weird and wonderful creations. Look closely at these pieces... what are they made of?

 A new use for surplus office supplies?

More photos to come. Post scheduled while I'm away this week.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Recyling Done Here

It's a wonderland of concrete, cement, recycling, metal, glass, whatever! Each outbuilding or shed is decorated with found objects, recycled objects, pieces of the artist's mind. A feast for the eyes.

The artist even keeps his own private army to guard all his creations. Each face is different. They march through the fields carrying their wooden rifles ready all day, all night, whatever the weather throws at them, but never getting anywhere.

More pictures to come! Post scheduled while I'm away this week.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Concrete Art

Just a few miles to the north of here is a little one room school house that provided education for lots of country students many years ago.
The school house eventually became redundant and artist Viktor Tinkl purchased it in 1965. And then the concrete moved in.
These photos were taken in better weather, all would be covered in snow right now.

I visit this place every time there's an Open House, it's fascinating to see what new creations have appeared in the grounds, or on the walls and roof of the old school house.
More pictures to come.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Where's Waldo.... 550 pieces.

It took hours and hours, but we found Waldo. A great way to keep three adults and three children busy throughout a freezing cold New Year's Eve afternoon.

There was fierce competition for who would put in the final piece. 
Isaac won the privilege by keeping one piece in his pocket and producing it at the last minute, when everyone else was about to panic.

Saturday, 13 January 2018


It's been really cold recently, -25C and lower at night, then it poured with rain and the temperature rose to +10C and lots of the snow melted, then wild winds and ice pellets, and now we're back in the deep freeze, -17C. Crazy weather.
The only remedy for too much annoying winter is to buy fresh flowers... especially my favourite sunshiney yellow tulips.

I love the way they open and stand upright, like soldiers on parade, then gradually droop and curl and form those lovely elegant organic curves. Welcome sunshine.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Window Works

I've been a very lazy blogger recently.... my excuses are totally pathetic. Christmas, New Year, and the horrible COLD weather intervened with my creative thought processes, such as they are. I've been attending ice hockey games and practices, some medical appointments, and just generally being a lazy good-for-nothing so-and-so, as my mother would say.
So now, back to blogging, fire up the synapses, it's Twentyeighteen!

When OlderSon and The Equestrienne bought their house a few years ago, her dad built some cupboards either side of the fireplace. And I decided to make some stained glass windows.

Can you guess, she's a horse person?

Monday, 1 January 2018


Did you stay up until midnight with a glass of champagne to welcome the New Year? Or perhaps you were freezing your toes (and pretty well everything else) at one of the outdoor celebrations around the country? It was certainly a bit chilly here.... around -24C (-12F) last night. That's too darn COLD!
Or did you do what I did, stay in the warm, and collapse into bed at around 11:00pm, and wake up ready to face a new day and a new year?

I spent New Year's Eve doing what I love to do best, relaxing with my family. We enlisted the help of grandchildren to complete a really complicated 550 piece "Where's Waldo" jigsaw puzzle, then we played a few hands of Isaac's new Skip-Bo card game, trying to learn the rules.
A movie from 2003, "Daddy Daycare", kept the kids laughing at the antics of Eddie Murphy and Jeff Garlin running a disastrous daycare, while YoungerSon skipped out into the freezing cold weather to bring home a tray of assorted sushi from the local Maki Sushi restaurant.
Sushi in front of the fireplace, then an early Netflix New Year's countdown for the kids at around 8:30pm. After standing on the bed and watching the New Year fireworks from the bedroom window (too damn cold to watch in the park), the kids were tucked into bed and sleeping by 9:00pm, and I was at home getting into in my jammies by 9:45! A successful New Year's Eve!

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! New Year Resolutions? Well, I'm not telling much but I know there are a few things planned on my list:

  1. Robbie Burns night in January.... I'll be peeling spuds, mashing neeps, and heating up the haggis as usual. DONE! and it was a great evening.
  2. Hip replacement surgery later in January. Now I'll have a matching set. And this time it will be a new procedure, DAA, Direct Anterior Approach, which will allow faster recovery than the previous method. Or so I've been told. DONE!
  3. Broadway show "Come From Away" in Toronto in April.... I already have my precious ticket pinned to the fridge so I don't misplace it.
  4. Concert trip to Scotland in July with the local men's chorus "Men of Note". And a possible week or two in England too, if I can arrange it.
  5. Four dates for local art exhibitions... not sure if I'll have enough pieces for display but I'll try. Better start painting.